Any gift ideas for today?
June 3, 2007 9:44 AM   Subscribe

What little perfect gift can I get for my pseudo romantic friend?

I have a friend who've I've know for a couple of years. Over the past couple of weeks we've been spending more time together, and due to the fact that we are now both single, it seems that connection between us is starting to shift in a rather delightful direction. Tonight we are going to see 'Once'. She is going away tomorrow, back East for 10 days, and I would like to give her a little something to tell her what a great time I've been having. So nothing that would feel heavy or too soon, but something light and fun and...

She's stylish, likes lots of new indie music, great taste, works in the arts, all around fun with a kick ass sense of humour.

Any ideas?
posted by miles1972 to Shopping (28 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Don't neglect the fine art of the mix tape.
posted by greta simone at 9:56 AM on June 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

greta simone took the words right out of my mouth. You could jazz up the presentation a little bit too, maybe with some nice decorations on the case, to push the romantic angle a little bit.
posted by invitapriore at 10:00 AM on June 3, 2007

A handwritten letter. That's a gift that's as heavy or as light as you want to make it! Give it to her at the beginning of your date, tell her to open it later. She'll have it to hold onto back east, and it'll bring her much happiness to reread.

(Be prepared of the consequences if she reads it earlier than planned...we usually eat this kind of shit up, and can't wait to do so.)
posted by iamkimiam at 10:00 AM on June 3, 2007

mix tape and letter were exactly the two things I was gonna suggest
posted by maniactown at 10:03 AM on June 3, 2007

On reflection, I have another idea. One of the most successful gifts I ever gave was a lucky penny, again with a nice presentation. Obviously, they have to take your word on whether you actually found it or not, but it's a lot more gratifying if you really go out and look for one. They're not too hard to find.
posted by invitapriore at 10:06 AM on June 3, 2007

Are you crafty? I love getting and making hand-made stuff. A quick idea that wouldn't take too much time is getting some blank note cards and making her a travel I Spy game, maybe one for every day she's away - "I spy a skinny guy wearing yellow pants", "I spy a black sign with raised white writing", "I spy a hairless dog" - anything that you might dream up. Bonus points for picking out a few landmarks, bands, stores or restaurants she might go to while she's out of town.

(If you want to be really cheesy and dopey romantic, you could make the last card "I Spy Miles 1972" for the day she's home and you guys go out for coffee.)
posted by TryTheTilapia at 10:08 AM on June 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

not to hijack the thread (hopefully others will find this interesting, as well as the OP?), but - invitapriore - how did you present the lucky penny? and did you do anything in particular to make sure the penny was 'lucky', or just pick it out of your change jar?
posted by AthenaPolias at 10:17 AM on June 3, 2007

AthenaPolias -- I've always been taught that a penny found dropped on the street was lucky, so I went out looking for one and very quickly found it. The presentation wasn't anything too fancy. I decided to make it comically overblown, so I found a cheap little encasement like the kind you put rings or various other tiny items in, and then put that in a small box with a bunch of warnings on it like "BE VERY CAREFUL: INSIDE IS AN ITEM OF GREAT POWER." I guess if I had really wanted to over-do it I could have gotten someone to translate that into Hebrew and Arabic. But, yeah. That's how it went down.

I really like TryTheTilapia's idea, also. :)
posted by invitapriore at 10:31 AM on June 3, 2007

you've been "spending more time together" for 10' days. nothing has happened, right? maybe she's madly in love with you, maybe she just sees you as a friend, period, no delightfulness (I vote for the latter, but I'm a pessimist). I say no gift, it's too much, you don't want to creep her out or look like a dick or both. offer to drive her to the airport, maybe she needs a lift, and leave it at that. we'll see when she comes back.

this is the moment to remain calm.
posted by matteo at 11:53 AM on June 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

I shared an apartment with a stunning, charming and intelligent twenty-something (single) North German chica once upon a time; she always had a stack of mix tapes, and she didn’t listen to music that constantly. Which is to say, there may be downsides to giving a mix tape.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 12:06 PM on June 3, 2007

hot girls always seem to have a mix of little-listened-to mix tapes
posted by Salvatorparadise at 12:49 PM on June 3, 2007

I'm with matteo.

A gift at this point is way too emo. Let things take their course.
posted by jayder at 1:08 PM on June 3, 2007

SHORTFORM answer: Burn a CD for her and write a postcard sized letter. That's your safest bet.


What I'd do would be to buy her something practical that would be of interest to her on the trip. This is why I haven't dated since before Nine Eleven. Do as I say, not as I would do.

Matteo said: "this is the moment to remain calm."

Two years of being friends and then two weeks of maybe being more than that? Calm? HAIL no! This is a moment to be excited! This is like Snoopy Dance time!

What would i DO? I'd ask her if she wanted me to take the trip with her. DO AS I SAY NOT AS I WOULD DO.

Body language can resolve this for ya. Has she been obviously as pleased by this new direction as you or is she acting like a sleepy kitten stuck in a bowl of spaghetti? If it's the latter, I'd go with the letter she can read on the way there. Keep the letter short but sweet. Pretty much what you'd like to say to her if you were taking the trip with her to wherever the heck she's going - but don't get mushy.

MAYBE the mixtape if you have time. Better than a mix tape would be to buy a local indie band CD she can listen to on the way there. Maybe a group she's mentioned that she doesn't have yet - that proves you been listening to her.

Two years... you HAVE been listening to her, right? If not, then go with the mix tape.

...When we SAY mixtape.. we ARE including the variant of burning a CD, right? Mixtape is just the legacy vernacular, like calling a CD an album when they haven't really been albums since before vinyl went out of style.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:19 PM on June 3, 2007

Response by poster: Hmm.

My instincts were initially with matteo and jayder (which is why I posted actually), but I thought maybe I would ignore my instincts this time, as I'm really starting to grow fond, and wanted to pull her over to the 'yes, let's' side of things.

There's been no kissing on the mouth. Yesterday some handholding as we lay at the beach, and she pulled me close and kissed me on the cheek goodbye. She'd never done that before.

I know that the crowd will have all kinds of way to interpret this.
posted by miles1972 at 1:29 PM on June 3, 2007

I dunno about the crowd. I only got one way of interpreting handholding at the beach. Women always have the option of washing their hair if the DON'T wanna hold your hand at the beach, you know whut I'm sayin'? She wasn't just being polite here.

Next time she kisses you on the cheek, make like you're gonna turn the other cheek and miss.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:36 PM on June 3, 2007

a mixtape (or mix-cd) is good. tell her it's for the long plane ride home. or a bag of her favorite snack/candy.

i would hold back, though. you're having a great fling, but who knows what the separation will bring. i wouldn't do anything truly irreversible at this point.
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:36 PM on June 3, 2007

...and here's some precursory homework fer ya, just to be safe.

Actually you know what I'd really do? In this case I think I'd really hide in my house and play City of Heroes.


Do what I wouldn't do! Don't hide in your house and play City of Heroes. Go chase after the woman and take a chance for cryin' out loud.

Forget the gift thing. Wrap yourself up in a bow and tell her your hers.

What are you, getting younger or something? Seize the day! No guts no glory! No pain no gain! Uhm... stop and smell the roses! Circle the wagons! Bite the hand whut fed ya! Take a bite outta crime! Have it your way! Only you can prevent forest fires!

Know any buddies back east who wouldn't mind you maybe crashing on their couch for a couple days? Maybe some "coincidental important business" came up which just happened to send you to the same city she's staying at.

Don't do what I'd do. I'd turn tail and run.

Do as I say, and I say get yerself a piece of that big perfect sky!

Go out there and win one for the gipper! ...whut's a gipper?
posted by ZachsMind at 1:56 PM on June 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Vintage postcard. You can get a very cool one for less than $15.00. (Maybe even for less than $5.00. Of course, you can also get a blazingly, transcendently, heart-stompingly cool one for about $500.00, but that's not advised.) If you're able to locate an antique store with a good selection (call around; collecting is a common hobby) you can choose something that's mildly romatic, that's silly, that has zoo animals, or dirgibles, or intricate moving parts, or, hell, even Jimmy Carter if that's the sort of thing she'd like.

It's artsy, cheap, personal, and I guarantee, it's the sort of thing nobody's ever given her before.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:29 PM on June 3, 2007

palmcorder has a great suggestion - it's personal without being too personal... and a nice switcheroo on the 'going away, will send you a postcard' thing. Make it romantic but not overly gushy... and perhaps offer to pick her up from the airport, which I think is an incredibly romantic thing. Maybe have a simple bouquet of flowers, even?

*waits for anti-romance brigade to attack*
posted by rmm at 4:57 PM on June 3, 2007

So, miles1972, is your question now whether or not to give her a gift? Because, if that's the case, well....shucks, man.

I'm a woman and I can tell you right now little gifts and such are always welcome, particularly if I've already done the "walkin' down the beach holding hands" routine with a guy. Obviously, I'm not talking about having her name tattooed across your forehead, or skywriting "I LOVE YOU, MARCIE!" overhead at her family reunion, or pulling a Lloyd Dobbler outside her bedroom window in the first two weeks. But a bag of Corn-nuts? For the plane ride? Maybe a deck of cards? Come on....that's sweet. And if it doesn't turn out the way you want, well, she'll always remember that you were the guy that gave her a little present - just a little, friendly, non-threatening "hey, I like you!" treat to take with her before she went out of town. Particularly if she (heaven forfend) ends up with some asshat down the line. And if she does like you, well then she might start thinking alot about you while she's away. She might look forward to seeing you again when she comes home. She might go out on a date with you. She might talk about you on the phone with one of her girlfriends who will no doubt encourage her to give the sweet guy who gave her a flower before she left town a real shot.

We're not talking about professing undying love. We're talking about a treat. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and all that. And I like the penny and the vintage postcard ideas, but YMMV.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 5:01 PM on June 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Beaded bracelet. Not too expensive, but find a _good_ crafts/handmade/gifts store, pick one that's genuinely tasteful -- probably beads. If you think she'd like it. Think of the colors she usually wears, if you can. This would be so great, unless she's anti-bracelet. Even if she doesn't usually wear jewelry, it might make her start.

You should be able to find one that's going to work with a variety of outfits & clothing styles. She can think of you whenever she looks at it, but it's not obvious, garish, nor _too_ romantic. But so thoughtful, and just enough girly.

Gosh, now I want one.

One more idea, in case you know her well enough: a small book that you can discuss on the phone/when she gets back. She can read it on the plane & if she gets lonely/bored.
posted by amtho at 5:37 PM on June 3, 2007

One of my favorite silly gifts that I ever got (also from a friend who later became more than a friend ;>) was a cheesy Hallmark gift card with little doodles and comics drawn all over it by the giver.

He was not even an artist, and would usually just draw little stick people/animals acting out in-jokes that he and I shared or making fun of the cheesy gift card that he purchased. He would cover the card with these little doodles - on the front, back, inside, and on the entire envelope.

I kept every one that he gave me. I'm an artsy person myself, and this kind of fun, simple, personal stuff are the gifts I remember most fondly.

So my suggestion is, go to Hallmark and get a silly "going away" card, and cover it with fun little drawings/comics that reference the times and jokes you've shared in the last 10 days. Don't let any supposed lack of artistic talent hold you back either. Crude little stick men can be just as fun and hilariously as fully rendered cartoons.
posted by Squee at 6:42 PM on June 3, 2007

Another idea - if you guys are internet nerds to any degree, print out some of her favorite webcomics (or ones you think she'll like) and give them to her. Maybe a comic for every day she'll be gone, or something like that. If you assemble a bunch of them you could get them bound at Kinko's into a nice little book.

Here are some suggestions. But go with something that pertains to her particular interests, if you can.
posted by Squee at 6:54 PM on June 3, 2007

I'm going to have to be the lone voice of dissent here and argue against the mix-tape (or CD, or what have you). I hate getting mixes from guys who may or may not be interested in me, because then I have to sit there and try to crack the secret mix-tape code -- does track 5 mean that he likes me likes me? Does track 2 mean that he just went through a bad breakup and wants to take things slow? Does track 9 mean that he just wants to be friends? Do any of the tracks have any implications at all, or did he just throw a bunch of cool tunes on a disc? It's not that I don't appreciate the gesture, but I just never know what to make of it.

(And before anyone says that there's no way a dude would make a mix for a gal he wasn't interested in, I got a really lovingly packaged and put together mix from a guy -- it even had "New Partner" by Palace Music on it -- who I later found out already had a girlfriend.)
posted by kitty teeth at 7:56 PM on June 3, 2007

Nix on the mixed tape. They are hard to get right and never get listened to. How about a book to read on the plane? Or some cookies or other yummy food to eat on the plane?
posted by zia at 8:27 PM on June 3, 2007

Second thought - if she likes chocolate the most decadent chocolate you can find which she can eat on the plane as she reads the gripping novel you gave her.
posted by zia at 8:31 PM on June 3, 2007

I really like the deck of cards idea, or something similar but not too personal that would be fun on the plane. Book of crossword puzzles? One of those little magnet cards where you put hair on the face with iron filings? A coloring book and crayons? Who doesn't love crayons?

kitty teeth is totally right about the mix tape interpretation quagmire, and the same goes for books.

Snacks or something to pass the time seem like the perfect level of sweet but not overly romantic. PLUS then she will be thinking about you the whole time on the plane!

Anyway, I say GO FOR IT. So what if it doesn't work out. Much better to have tried.
posted by exceptinsects at 5:00 PM on June 4, 2007

Once is an exellent choice of film. You might not need a gift...
posted by Lucy Phi at 5:57 AM on June 6, 2007

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